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Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0919225190
ISBN-10: 0919225195
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Life Cycle Books, Ltd. (November 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0919225195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0919225190
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,474,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin Jones on June 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this surprisingly compact book, Professor Brennan documents characteristics of the dehumanizing rhetoric which has accompanied so many atrocities of history. His text provides persuasive evidence that the rationalizations used to justify destroying other human beings are rather uncreative, falling into only eight categories. Brennan classifies these alibis of destruction into "Deficient" humans, nonhumans, animals, parasites, diseases, inanimate objects, waste products, and the Orwellian "legal nonperson." He focuses upon the plight of women, European Jews, American blacks, the unborn, and the disabled.
Brennan's commentary on the "semantic gymnastics" by which some people have dehumanized others is sharp, though pedants like myself would enjoy several hundred pages asking whether semantic corruption precedes mass oppression, or merely rationalizes oppressive actions already in progress.
While reading the concluding chapters, I was reminded of Simone Weil's comment that force turns a person into a *thing*, an object, a non-human. Brennan shows us the powerful force of words, those mere utterances that have for too long confined men and women to toil, terror, and death.
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Format: Paperback
Author William Brennan takes a much-needed look at the semantics of oppression. He effectively shows that the language used to justify the treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government, African Americans prior to the end of slavery, and European Jews during World War II is the same language used to speak of the unborn in today's culture.
This is an eye-opening book and there can be no denying the author's powerful thesis.
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Format: Paperback
One of my favorite books, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable illustrates how human beings are reduced to non-human status by those who wish to destroy them, and it starts with the power of words. Everyone from unborn babies to people of certain ethnic backgrounds have been the victims of those who were the "pro-choice" movement of the time. ("Pro-choice" in owning a slave, murdering Jews or "terminating" an unborn baby.) This book is relevant not only to those who oppose abortion, but those like myself who oppose the entire spectrum of aggression (including war and the death penalty). Invaluable for all human rights activist, whether your focus is on the rights of humans in the womb,out of the womb---or both.
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Format: Paperback
William Brennan is a Pro-Life activist who has provided the Right To Life movement with a very useful tool by authoring DEHUMANIZING THE VULNERABLE. Brennan shows how dehumanizing language is used to devalue vulnerable populations such as the unborn and the elderly. The historical examples he offers are quite convincing as he traces the dehumanizing efforts made against women, European Jews, Soviet enemies, African Americans and Native Americans. Opponents of such groups often try to depict them as inanimate objects, waste products, nonpersons and even diseases.
Brennan makes his case with clarity. Anyone interested in Right To Life issues will find this book to be a good investment.
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